Kate Manuel of Green Forest was crowned the 68th Miss Tech on Friday night during the 2024 Miss Arkansas Tech University scholarship pageant at Witherspoon Auditorium.
Daughter of Emma and Alexander Manuel and Noel Ramirez, Manuel is a 20-year old junior at ATU. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education.
Manuel won the Nona Dirksmeyer Memorial Talent Award, the Lindsey Ahrens McCrary Vocal Award, the On-Stage Interview/Community Service Initiative Award, the Zachary McClure Denison Leadership Award, the evening wear competition and the Dr. Jim Collins Miss Congeniality Award during Friday night’s pageant.
“It feels amazing,” said Manuel moments after receiving her crown. “I am so grateful to God. This is something I’ve been working on for the past three years. I told God I wouldn’t doubt him, and now I’m here.”
Manuel was the third runner-up in the 2022 Miss Arkansas Tech pageant and the first runner-up in the 2023 Miss Arkansas Tech pageant.
“It was a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication and a lot of long nights,” said Manuel. “My motivation is myself. I know that I’m the only one who can accomplish my own dreams, so I had to.”
Manuel’s community service initiative is “Si Se Puede: Empowerment Through Education.” Her goal is to expose minority students to information about scholarship opportunities that can help them pursue higher education.
“It’s all about advocating for students,” said Manuel, whose long-term career aspiration is to serve as a school district superintendent. “I want to advocate for their future and success.”
Manuel will represent ATU in the 2024 Miss Arkansas pageant this summer at Robinson Performance Hall in Little Rock.
“It’s been a dream of mine for a long time,” said Manuel. “I’ve never gone to Miss Arkansas, but here we go.”
Among the prizes that Manuel receives as Miss Tech is a two-semester tuition scholarship at Arkansas Tech. In all, more than $21,000 in gifts and scholarships were awarded during the 2024 Miss Arkansas Tech pageant.
Onnalyse Smith of Russellville was first runner-up and won the Kristen Hayes Atchley Dance Award.
Kenleigh Garner of Hot Springs (second runner-up), Jazmine Houston of Plainview (third runner-up) and Savannah Brown of Rison (fourth runner-up) rounded out the top five among the 10-contestant field.
Emma Guill of Hot Springs captured the Virginia Bachman Scholastic Achievement Award as the candidate with the highest grade point average. Marybeth Boroughs of Russellville earned the Instrumentalist/Artistic/Spoken Word Award.
Other contestants in the 68th Miss Tech pageant were Nichele Bush of Rison, Jazmyne Campbell of Yellville and Reagan Smith of Sheridan.